6 Tips to De-Stress and Relax

I moved to London almost a year ago and wow it’s an awesome city. I moved from the little cities of Exeter and Winchester.. both of which are known for their beautiful surroundings, charismatic city centres and lack of anything to do other than visit every single coffee shop, pub and boutique in the town.

So London, well, it’s a little different! Don’t get me wrong, the energy is incredible, but it’s nice to know how to switch off from it, from work, and from any other little stresses that life’s decided to throw at you this week.

It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, we all get stressed and a little overwhelmed from time to time. Here’s a couple of tips I’ve learnt in the past year about how to ‘let go’ and switch off

1.Natural Oils

Natural oils are incredibly relaxing. I’ve been drinking chamomile tea and spraying lavender on my pillow before bed for about 3 months now. Both oils have been proven by several studies to reduce anxiety and slow the heart rate down, plus I just love the smell of lavender! Other amazing oils that help with anxiety and physiological issues such as high blood pressure include vetiver, ylang ylang, rose and bergamot. Try putting a few drops on your pillow at night, on your chest, or even in a bath.

Tip: Use one or two oils at once, they don’t work well when you mix them all together.

2. Music 

Get those speakers on! Whether you want to blare your favourite music out, dance around the house and pretend you’re Beyonce, or relax to your favourite soothing songs. Music will make you feel better- I guarantee it.

Tip: Choose your music genre carefully. If you want to de-stress, listen to low tempo music. If you’re full of energy that you want to let go, that’s the time to act like a raging rock star.

3. Exercise

If I didn’t workout, I’m pretty sure I would be a completely different person. Exercising allows me to get rid of any stress and negative energy I may have. Take that stress and turn it into positive energy- you’re going to beat your PB on this 5k, you’re going to smash this workout and be the best you can be. 95% of the goals I’ve set myself have been whilst working out. What do you want to achieve?

4. Mindfulness

Practise mindfulness. How? Yoga and meditation are the best active ways to practise mindfulness, but it doesn’t take a class to start. Next time you read a book, read every  single word with thought. Next time you open the car door, feel your skin on the handle, notice how it feels. Be mindful in the present.

5. The Bigger Picture

We get stressed sometimes about the most ridiculous things. Even if it seems like a huge thing, think about the bigger picture. Is this really going to affect your life? Are you really going to give a cr*p about this in a week, a month or a year? The answer is probably not. Close your eyes, think about it and let it go.

6. Nature

London. It’s great right? We’re very lucky to live in such a wonderful city with so much greenery. I actually live on a busy main road, and like many of you Londoners, I don’t  see much of this wonderful greenery on my daily commute to work. Today I walked back through the park from my yoga class. I was just about to step back onto the main road before I realised what I really needed. I needed to sit in a quiet space surrounded by nature. So that’s what I did. I sat there, on the cold grass, under a tree for about half an hour and just thought. Think about what environment is going to make you feel better, are you missing a little nature in your life?

Tip: Don’t be scared to look a little weird. Who care’s what the guy walking his dog thinks!

AmyAnya ox

Gola Active Trainers!

Last December 2016, I was lucky enough to receive an early Christmas present from Gola! I chose these beauties from the new Gola Active range. I have to be honest, I have a quite a large trainer collection already, and was wondering if I should really be adding to this! Having always been a fitness/gym fanatic, I pretty much have a pair of trainers for every type of physical activity I do! Indoor trainers, running trainers, outdoor trainers, lab trainers… yepp I was that kid! I realise this may sound slightly ridiculous, but I was convinced that my feet needed to have different support for these activities…either that, or it was just my excuse to buy more trainers! (Who am I kidding, of course it was both).

After much deliberation around the catalogue, the trainers I chose were lightweight, had breathable mesh, shock absorption and ‘strategically designed outsole flex grooves to aid natural foot movement’. I’m not going to lie and pretend that I chose these just based on the fancy technology, of course I went for the looks as well.

Well, since Gola Claus arrived in December, I think I’ve worn another pair of trainers once to exercise in, and this was to run in the mud. I’m not joking, these are the most comfortable pair of trainers I have ever worn, and I’m not just saying this because someone has told me to!! I genuinely love these trainers. They really are soo light and comfortable.

After discovering how amazing these were, I couldn’t just keep them to myself! Gola supported my first ever #amyanya_health giveaway in January. Firstly, it felt so good to be able to give something back to my audience, and secondly, it gave somebody else the chance to check out how awesome Gola’s new range is! My aim is try and motivate you all to stay fit and healthy, so being able to give someone the kit to do that, was a sweet feeling.

@Lizzie95 was the lucky winner of the competition, winning a pair of memory foam Gola Active trainers to keep herself fit and healthy in!

Lizzie says: “I’ve never had trainers with memory foam in them before, but these do and it’s great! The memory foam makes the perfect comfortable fit, so I love putting them on and getting outside for some exercise!”.unnamed

That’s the beauty of sports fashion. It’s motivating and practical.

If you fancy getting yourself a new pair of trainers, check out Gola’s website here.

Stay healthy 🙂

AmyAnya xo

 

*P.S All opinions are my own, Gola did not pay my to write any of this*

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conquer the Cold and Do Your Bit for Cancer Research UK This Winter!

Hello everyone!!

Wow, so this is my first blog post in a couple of months, but also my first blog post in 2017!! Despite it being almost February (how quickly has this month gone?) I guess that means I better say a very Happy New Year to you lovely bunch! I genuinely really hope that this year brings you joy, adventure and challenges.. because how do we grow as humans without a challenge?

So, my first blog post of 2017. It’s a special one, on both a personal and global scale. Ladies, and gents, boys and girls, I bring you the Cancer Research UK London Winter Run.

Let me break it down…

What is the event?

The CR UK London Winter Run is a mass participation closed road running event, hosted in central London on Sunday 5th February. The event is back for it’s 3rd year running, attracting 14,000 runners and 600 volunteers, who will take over the streets of central London. We’re expected to raise a whopping £800,000 for Cancer Research UK!

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Why is this event so awesome?

This is no normal running event. Firstly, it’s not often you get to close down Trafalgar Square, along with the City of Westminster! Secondly, the London winter run experience is like no other- with snow machines pumping, husky high fives and polar bear hugs, you’ll never have a day out in London like it.

Anyway, that’s the fun gimmicks. The main reason this event is awesome, is the mere fact that almost 15,000 people are working together, taking over one of the most important cities in the world and committing themselves to raise funds for such an exceptional charity, a charity that is close to unfortunately too many of our hearts. What a way to fight back to Cancer, than to join the London Winter Run team.

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How did I find out about this event?

Well, I’m actually on the CR UK London Winter Run team myself! I will be there on the day ensuring the event runs smoothly along with the whole Human Race team (the sports event company that I’m currently working for).

This will actually be my first big event with Human Race, as my journey only began with them in November. It would be fab to see any of you there, either continuing your fitness journey by completing the 10k run, as a supporter, or even as a volunteer!

Let #amyanyahealth help!

If any of you would like to take on the challenge of the 10k run around the beautiful central London, I have collaborated with the marketing team to produce a speacial discount code to get £3 off your entry (every little helps!).

For those of you who don’t live in London, don’t fear! There is also a CR UK Manchester Winter Run held at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday 12th February. 

Use discount code AMYANYAHEALTH to get discount off both entries 🙂

Click here to sign up to the London Winter Run on Sunday 5th Feb.

Click here to sign up to the Manchester Winter Run on Sunday 12th Feb.

If you don’t fancy running, there’s always volunteering!

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Like I said, it would be fab to see you guys there to support such a fantastic organisation that is Cancer Research UK.

Much love & stay healthy!

AmyAnya xo

Gluten free chocolate cake

Having such a sweet tooth, I love baking chocolate treats with a healthy spin.

With Nestle’s new GoFree gluten free rice pops I have created this gorgeous gluten free chocolate cake, inspired by professional chef, Phil Victory’s recipe with a special Amy Anya twist.

This recipe really is delicious, it’s definitely a favourite with the family! Perfect for those of you who are gluten intolerant or a healthy alternative to your standard chocolate cake.

Amy Anya’s gluten free cake… (serves 10)

img_3864Ingredients:

  • 175g Nestle GoFree coco rice
  • 120g very fine organic polenta
  • 1 heaped tbsp flax seed mix
  • 2 tsp of gluten free or non-gluten free baking powder
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 100ml almond milk
  • 135g virgin coconut oil
  • 150g caster sugar or coconut sugar

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/fan 160 degrees/gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with baking paper
  • Place the Nestle GoFree coco rice in a food processor along with the palenta and flax seed mix for one minute
  • Tip into a bowl and add the baking powder and lemon zest. Mix well
  • Meanwhile, mix the eggs and mil with a fork
  • Using a food processor, cream the coconut oil and sugar together for 3 minutes until nice and fluffy
  • Stir in half of the flour mix and all of the egg/milk mixture
  • Add the rest of the flour mix and stir in again
  • Spoon into the baking tray and cook for 30 minutes until nicely cooked through and risen
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool

 

Phil Vicory’s gluten free topping…

Ingredients:

  • 250g quark
  • 100g plain, low-fat format frais
  • 200g fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 100g fresh blueberries

Method: Beat the quark and fromage frais together well and spoon onto the cooled cake. Spread to the edge, top with the fruit and cut into squares and cool.

Amy Anya’s non-gluten free chocolate fudge sauce topping…

  • Ingredients:
  • 5 medjool dates
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 5 tbp coconut oil
  • Dash of almond milk
  • Raspberries

Method:

  • Pit and cut up dates into small pieces. Place in a food processor with the coconut oil
  • Melt the dark chocolate and add to the mix. Blitz in food processor for a minute until the sauce is a good consistency.
  • TIP: add almond milk if mixture is too thick.
  • Smooth over the cake and top with fresh raspberries

 

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Nestlé® GoFree™ Rice Pops and Coco Rice are fortified with B-vitamins, folic acid and iron, and are available at Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Ocado, RRP: £2.49*.

I hope you enjoy! 🙂

Remember to tag #amyanyarealhealth and @amyanya_health on Instagram when you try the recipe out!

AmyAnya xo

Easy banana pancakes

This is one of my all time favourite Sunday recipes. It really is so easy and simple and a great post-workout treat. You’ll love it.

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • Half a cup of oats
  • 1 large banana
  • 100ml of almond milk
  • 1 large egg
  • Ground cinnamon

Method:

  • Place the oats, banana, egg and almond milk into a food processor.
  • TIP: You want the mix to be quite thick. Add half of the milk to begin with and use your judgement to add more once the mix is in the processor.
  • Add the cinnamon- I use about one tablespoon.
  • Blend the mix up for approx. 50 seconds until it’s a good consistency! Add more milk if neccessary.
  • Once you’re happy with the consistency gently fry on non-stick frying pan on a low heat.
  • TIP: If you don’t have a non-stick pan then use a small amount of butter or coconut oil. Butter and coconut oil are saturated fats which research suggests increases the levels of good cholesterol in the blood. It also copes better when heated to high temperatures than poly-unsaturated fats such as margarine.
  • Top with nuts, fruit, full fat greek yogurt and nut butter.

Keep me posted if you try the recipe out on Instagram by tagging @amyanya_health!

AmyAnya xo

Health & Wellness at Windjammer Landing

Windjammer Landing, located on the beautiful island of St.Lucia has been a very special place for me for 19 years. I’ve been spending my summers at Windjammer Landing since the little age of 3.

Growing up at this gorgeous resort not only turned me into the water baby I still am today, but also encouraged my brothers and I to stay healthy during our youth and now our adulthood.

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The fitness centre… 

The fitness centre is a very new addition to the resort and for many of us it was extremely exciting to use this brand new, beautiful gym.

wj 10I usually walk from my villa at the top of the hill down to the fitness suite, just to make the most of the views and sunshine. Plus, it saves warming up when I get there!

The gym has really beautiful beach and ocean views. It’s not everyday you can be on a treadmill whilst staring into the Caribbean sea.

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For me, the best part of the fitness suite is the yoga studio. 1j 13

Windjammer also provides yoga classes including paddle board and sun-rise yoga. I went to the full-moon yoga held on the beach which was very peaceful. A really amazing opportunity to have a class under the full-moon!

 

 

The spa…

The brand new spa really is a place of pure relaxation. Take a peek out of the window and your back looking at ocean views.

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The spa offers a great range of products and treatments, but my favourite thing about the spa is the juice bar!

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If you’ve had a big gym session the juice bar is a perfect stop on the way to the beach! I love popping in here for a mid-afternoon juice or a veggie and chicken wrap.

 

 

 

 

Water sports…

Windjammer’s water sports was really the highlight of my summer childhood! My family actually spent so much time doing water sports that my dad eventually got married ON the water sports dock!

If you’re a beginner at motorised water sports, Windjammer is a perfect place to learn. Being the Caribbean sea, the ocean is very flat and the instructors are very good with helping you develop. Water sports is free for owners and runs pretty much all day, so it’s easy to get good if your keen like me!

Here’s my water sports history… all learnt at Windjammer!

  1. Age 6- I learnt the kneeboard
  2. Age 10- Moved on to bigger and better things… I learnt water skiing.
  3. Age 12- Who needs two skis? Mono-Skiing is more fun!
  4. Age 14- It’s time for a challenge… let’s try wake boarding.
  5. Age 22- Still keeping up the mono & wake boarding.

The water sports doesn’t just include motorised activities. There really is a fantastic range of activities from sailing, wind surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, pedalo boat and tube riding.

Chilling in my happy place ✌🏼️🇱🇨 Gonna miss boarding on this crystal clear sea!

A post shared by A M Y A N Y A. (@amyanya_health) on

The activities list at Windjammer really is endless!

A very active yet relaxing stay, I can’t wait to return next year. Thank you Windjammer Landing!

AmyAnya ox

 

 

Photo credits: Dani Devaux.

Tourism: Saint Lucia Tourism.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, based in the North of Thailand was the second place I visited at the beginning of my four month trip across South East Asia and Australia.

After spending two nights in Bangkok visiting temples, markets and partying on the famous Khoa San road, we travelled up north to the beautiful Chiang Mai.

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Chiang Mai was a lot busier than I anticipated, but I loved the contrast of busy markets and peaceful side streets within the city.

So for any of you thinking about visiting Chiang Mai, here’s a little list of activities that are really worth doing.

1. Overnight train

We travelled from Bangkok to Chiang Mai on the over night train. It departured at 1.50pm and arrived at 4am. This is just as long as the bus, but the scenic views and fold down bed made it an experience definitely worth doing once.

2. Jungle treck

What’s a trip to the north without trecking through a jungle and bathing in  natural waterfalls? We did a two day jungle treck with one night sleeping at the waterfall camp in the jungle. The camp was one of my favourite highlights. After showering in the waterfall we were served delicious yellow curry. We sat around the fire, gazing at the stars which were unbelievably bright and beautiful.

That night we slept under a bamboo roof with nothing but the sound of the waterfall to listen to. In the morning we were given organic jasmine jungle tea with breakfast, followed by a treck back to a remote village we had stopped at the previous day.

The tour also included bamboo rafting which was so relaxing, I highly recommend doing this!

We were suppose to ride elephants but thankfuly we all refused- we absolutely did not want to condone to this animal cruelty, it was really quite upsetting seeing the conditions these poor animals are kept under.
 Overall the trip was really amazing and I thoroughly recommend booking a tour when you’re in Chiang Mai. Don’t book any tours in Bangkok or you will be over charged! It’s also a good idea to get the choice of skipping the elephants, that way your money isn’t funding this awful tourist attraction.

3. Temples

Chiang Mai has some really beautiful temples within the city. Grab a map from your hostel and hit the road! The best thing about Chiang Mai is that you can walk everywhere, there’s actually no need for tuk tuks (unless you haven’t been on one, you gotta do it once!). My favourite temple was Wat Chedi Luang but their all definitely worth checking out, just make sure to cover your shoulders and knees.

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4. Make friends with a monk

If you speak English your likely to be approached by Monks who are eager to practise their English language skills! Have a seat and take some time to share your stories together. Learning about a monks perception on life was truely one of the most amazing experiences. I was also given some mediation and yoga tips that I will be practising for no doubt the rest of my life! Such a blessing and totally free.

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5. Night Bazaar

Cheap delicious food, endless markets stalls and a great astmosphere. Open from 7pm, it’s a great place to get some dinner and have a stroll.

6. Cooking lesson

During our jungle tour we managed to sneak in a quick cooking lesson with our guide who showed how to make the classic Pad Thai dish. If your looking for a proper cooking lesson then Chiang Mai is a great place to do it. Although I didn’t manage to go myself I have heard great things  from ‘The best Thai cookery school’ (the name says it all),  located 13k outside of Chiang Mai in the beautiful mountains.

7. The Roof top bar
If your looking for a chilled place to get a drink or meet some travellers, head to The Roof top bar on Korchasan Road. We discovered it after befriending a local tatto artist. Very cool vibe.

8. Elephant care

Chiang Mai is full of tours offering you elephant rides, I urge you please do NOT to take these tours. They say they treat the elephants well, but what I witnessed was not ‘good care’. I have had a lot of friends visit the Elephant nature park, an animal rehabilitation centre where you can volunteer and look after the animals. Although I have heard good things, I personally find it difficult to trust these organisations but that is up to you to make your mind up.

Chiang Mai is a beautiful city full of culture, parties and peace. If you’re ever planning a trip to Thailand then definitely head north and check it out!

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Thanks for reading!

AmyAnya ox

 

 

SunGods. Adventure proof sunglasses!

So a couple of weeks ago I designed my very own custom made SunGod classics!

What are SunGods?

SunGod’s are perfect adventure proof, sports sunglasses.

So what makes these sunglasses so special? Here’s a few features…

  • Adventure proof flexible frame material
  • Lifetime guaranteeunspecified.jpeg
  • 100% UV protection
  • Impact resistant
  • Triple layer scratch coating
  • Advanced polarised precision
  • Replaceable lenses

& Worn by professional athletes including Red Bull surfer, Andrew Cotton!

Pretty amazing sunglasses if your an active individual, but I also ended up wearing my SunGods a lot as general daywear! I found them so light on my face and loved the polarised lenses. IMG_5213

I really valued my SunGods whilst skiing in the alps and their already in my backpack ready for my adventures in Thailand, Cambodia, Bali and Australia which begin in a few days time. Being such a clumsy but active individual myself, I find it very refreshing knowing that I’m able to use such high quality glasses during sports and travelling without the fear of them breaking.

If your into sports and are looking for a new pair of sunglasses, I thoroughly recommend them! Particularly into snow sports? SunGod has recently launched ski & snowboard goggles!unspecified-4

If you’re keen to get your own pair, click here and design your custom made SunGods!

Thanks for reading guys,

AmyAnya ox

 

Perfect banana porridge

During the winter I tend to eat a lot of porridge, especially when I have a busy day. Although a lot of people are put off by carbohydrates, these macronutrients found in oats are necessary for optimum brain function and maintaining energy levels throughout the day. This porridge is particularly full of amazing nutrients with the bonus of including coconut oil, providing the ‘good fats’ which are a great source of energy, as well as being able to reduce cholesterol, improve metabolism and help to balance blood sugar levels.

Back in my university days I was one of those too busy running around trying to stay fit, socialise and get at least a high 2:1 all the same time.. in other words, my cooking was the last thing on my mind and unfortunately for me, my porridge game was below average.

Luckily things have changed and I’d  now like to think I’m at the top of the porridge league with this incredibly yummy recipe that I’ve developed from several cookbooks. Drum droll please…

Ingredients:

100g of oats

250ml of boiling water

100ml of almond milk

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1 banana

Method:

  1. Soak the oats in the boiling water  for 3-4 minutes (or if your organised you can soak them the night before)
  2. Mix in the coconut oil and banana
  3. When the banana has started to cook stir in the milk
  4. Keep stirring every so often until is reaches a nice thick consistency
  5. Pour into a bowl and add toppings! Here’s a few ideas…

Toppings:

  • Raw honey
  • Berries
  • Nut butter
  • Apple
  • Cinnamon
  • Raisins
  • Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia etc.)
  • Nuts
  • Cacao nibs

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Enjoy!

AmyAnya ox

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buckwheat Pancakes!

Healthy pancakes anyone?

If you follow me on Instagram you might have guessed I’m a little bit in love with pancakes. I’ve been trying out different healthy recipes for a while now, experimenting with different flours including coconut, multi-grain and now buckwheat!

What’s good about buckwheat? A few nutritional facts…

  1. Buckwheat contains a significantly high amount of fibre with one serving providing nearly 10% of the daily fibre values for adults.
  2. It’s a great energy source, proven by several studies!
  3. With little fat (less than 1g) the calories from buckwheat flour comes from carbohydrates and protein.
  4. High in minerals including magnesium, phosphorus, copper, iron and manganese which helps to stabilise blood sugar levels.
  5. Buckwheat flour provides more vitamins than white flour including B-6 which helps absorb fats and proteins.
  6. It’s wheat and gluten free!
  7. It decreases blood glucose, blood pressure and produces a lower GI response.

And number 8… It tastes amazing in pancakes!

The recipe…

I try and use ingredients that are accessible and cheap so you don’t have to go hunting for expensive products. I get my buckwheat flour from Holland & Barrett for a deadly £1.99… yep it’s that cheap! Everything else should be lying around in your kitchen or will be in your local corner store.

Ingredients: (serves one, 5 small pancakes) 

  • 1 banana
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp buckwheat flour
  • 1 drop of vanilla extract
  • 1/6 tsp baking powder
  • Splash of milk (I use hemp milk but it’s up to you)
  • Tbsp coconut oil OR butter (for the pan)

Method:

  • In a bowl mash up the banana with a fork (if you pop the banana in the microwave for 30 seconds before it’s a lot easier)
  • Add the egg and mix in with the banana
  • Mix in the buckwheat flour, vanilla extract and baking powder
  • Add a splash of milk (the amount depends on the consistency, you want it reasonably thick)
  • Add the coconut oil or butter to the pan
  • Pour in the mixture slowly and wait for the bottom to cook, turn over when golden brown.

I like to serve my pancakes with full-fat natural yoghurt (full-fat= less sugar), berries and maple syrup.

I hope you enjoy! 🙂

AmyAnya ox